Professor Alison Peirse


My research is in Film and Television Studies. It is driven by a single question: what does the horror genre reveal about gender? Historically, feminist studies of horror cinema have answered this question by deploying psychoanalysis to examine the representation of women on screen. However, this approach lacks a consideration of the patriarchal structures of power and control within the creative industries, and within academia itself. As such, my work switches the discipline’s focus from on screen to behind the scenes. I identify and reflect upon moments in the film industry, and in intellectual histories, when patriarchal norms and values around genre and gender become reified. In so doing, I ask: what happens when we consider women as makers of horror, rather than objects of terror? And when, how and why do our horror film histories exclude the creative contributions of women? 

I have been awarded almost £400,000 in research funding, given over fifty conference papers, keynotes and international guest lectures in North America and Europe, published four books, three edited journal issues, 25 journal articles and book chapters and three films. My books include Rewriting Television (Rutgers UP, 2024), Women Make Horror: Filmmakers, Feminism, Genre (Rutgers UP, 2020), After Dracula: The 1930s Horror Film (IB Tauris, 2013), Korean Horror Cinema (Edinburgh UP, 2013). My first film Three Ways to Dine Well has screened at multiple film festivals around the world and is now published in English and Spanish in Tecmerin: Journal of Audiovisual Essays. My next film, Knit One, Stab Two is currently playing on the festival circuit in North and South America, Europe, South Asia and South East Asia. I have won numerous awards around the world for my books, journal articles and films, including BAFTSS Best Edited Collection for Women Make Horror, Best Documentary Short at the Wench Film Festival in India for Knit One, Stab Two, and the Screenwriting Research Network’s Outstanding Journal Article of the Year for my Feminist Media Studies research on commissioning and development practices in British television.

From February 2022–October 2023, I am an AHRC Research, Development and Engagement Fellow. During the fellowship, I am working on three projects: a new book, Her Chainsaw Heart: A Feminist History of Horror Cinema, a journal special issue entitled Bodies as Battlefields, and Doing Women’s (Global) (Horror) Film History, a videographic training programme and special issue on horror cinema made by the global majority. 

I contribute my internationally recognised research expertise on horror to television, print media and radio, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour and the Guardian, and to podcasts including Netflix’s 10/10I collaborate with international genre film festivals, including /slash Filmfestival (Austria), Offscreen (Brussels) and Etheria (USA). I also work as a filmmaker, scriptwriter and script editor. As a writer, I have had competition placements and / or trained and collaborate with Penguin Random House, the Royal Court Theatre and Channel 4. 


  • Deputy Director, Research and Innovation

Research interests

My academic research is in horror film, with a focus on illuminating women’s invisible or overlooked contributions to the production of the genre. Within this area, I focus on how, when and why we write histories of women’s contributions. To do this, I tend to work at the intersection of production studies and feminist film historiographies. Then, I am just as interested in how we might think through and express these research findings through multiple registers, including written essays, festival programming and videographic work. 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Cultural Research, University of Lancaster
  • PG Cert in Academic Practice and Learning, University of Northumbria
  • MA in Visual Culture (Distinction), University of Lancaster
  • BA (Hons) Media and Popular Culture (First Class), Leeds Metropolitan University

Professional memberships

  • Member of Women's Film and Television History Network
  • Member of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, including Horror SIG
  • Member the British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies, including founding member of Horror Studies SIG & Practice Research SIG
  • Member of MECCSA, including Women's Network and Practice Network
  • Member of the Screenwriting Research Network
  • Founding Member of the Northern Television Research Group
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Research groups and institutes

  • Creative Writing at Leeds

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>